PROS / You can use CSS, designer mode or XHTML to create your marketing pieces.
CONS / This service doesn't provide a cross-platform inbox preview.
VERDICT / Constant Contact's great mix of features makes it worth a look, though it lacks some standard conveniences.
Constant Contact's email marketing service is intuitive and easy to use for all skill levels, even though it lacks some features. This bulk email service breaks down its email campaign setup process into three easy steps: "Create the look, select your audience, then schedule and send."
To create the look, you can scroll through hundreds of design templates or create your own. In these three steps, you can create an email campaign that is perfect for announcing special events, sales and more. The only downside to the templates is that you can change only one section of the template at a time.
When you're ready to create email advertising campaigns, Constant Contact provides a variety of templates you can customize. You can also start with a blank template. You can work in the designer mode or, if you'd rather, interact directly with XHTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). You can also copy and paste your own HTML source code into your template-based emails.
This bulk email marketing service makes it easy to create an email campaign. We were impressed with the large selection of designer templates, which come in a wide variety of layouts, colors and patterns. Remember that although these are templates, you have the freedom to move text blocks around and adjust other design features. You can insert an assortment of extra features, including images, documents, and links to surveys, polls and videos. To create surveys and send them out, however, there is an extra monthly fee. Most other companies include this feature with their email marketing service.
You can also import images and text directly into the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor or take advantage of the drag-and-drop functionality to create and edit each section of your message. What holds this service back from ranking higher is the absence of an inbox preview feature, which would allow you to easily view how your campaign appears across the major email providers.
This email advertising service provides all the necessities for creating comprehensive reports on email campaigns, including the number of bounces, complaints, opt-outs, click-throughs and forwards. The addition of a social-share toolbar and individual social media buttons for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn should increase traffic to your site.
The social stats reporting tools clearly illustrate the number of shares, likes, tweets and more that your messages receive. You can also see the number of total social shares and page views your email campaign has generated. Although we are impressed with the social media reporting tools, we are disappointed that this email marketing service does not include robust conversion tracking and email replies. It also neglects to offer Google Analytics reports.
Constant Contact's email marketing templates are professional, and the editor allows you to customize your designs, no matter your skill level. It would be nice to have additional email campaign reporting options and previewing abilities, and we are disappointed that there is an additional monthly charge for preparing and sending surveys. However, the service is relatively easy to use, and it lets you create and monitor effective email campaigns.